Wednesday | 05 Mar 2014

Service spy: Rally Mexico

It’s Wednesday in Mexico and there are just 36 hours to go until the rally’s opening stage on Thursday night. While the drivers are out on the recce, we went for a look around the new outdoor service park in Leon. Here’s what we found:

Pimp my container: Mexico is the first long-haul rally of the season for the European-based WRC manufacturer teams, which means hospitality trucks are out, and shipping containers are in.

As you might expect, WRC teams have risen to the challenge of making these 40ft corrugated steel boxes look as trick as possible.

Our favourite here is Volkswagen’s fully wrapped engineering office complete with tinted windows and private viewing area. Top marks!

That’s shoe business: Leon is the home of Mexico’s shoe manufacturing industry, and there is plenty of evidence of this in service.

From a 4-metre sandal, to this towering cowboy boot, oversized tributes to Leon’s shoemakers are all over the place.

No sign yet though of the custom made pair of boots that will be presented to the rally winner on Sunday.

Hyundai service area light: WRC newcomers Hyundai turned heads at Rallye Monte-Carlo with arguably the biggest hospitality area ever seen in the WRC – a 900 square metre glass-fronted building that took almost four days to assemble.

Making its debut here is the Korean manufacturer’s lighter option. It’s almost as impressive and a hit with the team because it takes only 16 hours to put up.

We’ll next see the building in Argentina, and then Australia when the third car bay – currently housing team engineers – will be filled by Hayden Paddon’s i20 World Rally Car.

Organisers in igloos: The weather in Leon is lovely - dry and sunny with a temperature of 24 degrees Celsius. So it’s unusual to see what looks like a futuristic eskimo village in one corner of the service park.

The six igloos are in fact giant inflatable offices for the teams of rally organisers, timing officials and FIA stewards who used to be housed in the nearby Poliforum exhibition centre.

The clever design features revolving doors to stop the unit collapsing every time somebody goes in or out.

Kubica cam: Lots of cams actually. The Pole’s Fiesta is being fitted with extra on-board cameras – including this unusual rear-facing exterior – to get some extra action footage at Thursday’s shakedown.

Watch out for the pictures in our Rally Mexico video clips.